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Sentences can be divided into parts called clauses. A relative clause is a part of a sentence that describes the person or thing we are talking about and is connected to other clauses in the sentence via a relative pronoun
The woman that has just left the shop didn't buy anything.
( ' that has just left the shop ' modifies the noun ' woman ' by telling us which woman the speaker is referring to)
It gives essential information about the noun or noun phrase it modifies, without which the sentence wouldn't make sense as the listener or reader would not be able to identify the noun in the sentence:
The hotel that we stayed in wasn't bad .
( 'that we stayed in' tells the listener which hotel we are talking about; it defines the hotel)